COVID-19 Cases

Cases of coronavirus in Russia have hit new high, Moscow warns of a clampdown


Russia reported 9,623 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, its highest daily increase since the outbreak of the pandemic, bringing the total to 124,054, mostly in the capital city of Moscow, where the mayor threatened to cut travel permits.

The nationwide death toll rose to 1,222 after 57 people died in the last 24 hours, Russia's response center for coronavirus crisis said after revising the tally of the previous day.

Russia has been in partial lockdown since the end of March, aiming to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. In Moscow, people who have not obtained a special free movement permit can only leave their homes to go shopping, walk their dogs and dispose of the garbage.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered the restrictive measures, called non-working days, to continue until May 11 inclusive, when Labor Day and Victory Day holidays are concluded in the country.

Despite a relatively small number of cases and deaths compared to the U.S., Italy and Spain that were hardest hit by the disease, Russia's infection curve has not reached a plateau.

On Saturday, Major of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin issued an appeal to Muscovites to continue to isolate themselves. He said there is an increase in the number of critically ill patients but not as steeply worst-case scenario projections.

"Yet it's clear that the threat is rising," he said in his blog.

Sobyanin told Rossiya-1 TV station that if the situation worsens, the Moscow authorities may cut the number of digital travel permits issued through the city.

The country's second-most senior official after Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, told the president on Thursday that he had tested positive for coronavirus and that he was temporarily stepping down to recover.

In his absence, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov now serves as the acting Prime Minister.

Another Russian cabinet member, Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev, announced on Friday that he has been diagnosed with the virus and will be treated in hospital. One of his deputies, Dmitry Volkov, has also tested positive, the ministry said.